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RC - Wallabies vs Springboks, Gold Coast Sunday 12 September 8:05 PM

Lorenzo

Arch Winning (36)
I'm not a fan of the maul at all, but if it cannot be legally defended then the wallabies have (largely) failed to capitalise on this for the last two decades (at least), as they have had numerous mauls in the oppo 22 (and elsewhere) shut-down legally, or at least with apparent legality. Seems more likely to me that we cannot legally defend it, probably a consequence of the same structural neglect that we've witnessed all over the game for decades.

Thought the difference last night was pretty obviously the goalkicking. Quade could have missed the last kick, still had a 7/8 night (so, excellent) and we would have lost. It literally took an 8/8 night to get us across the line. Still, plenty of tests where have played better rugby and lost because we missed our kicks, and kicking is a massive part of test rugby in particular, so we deserved the win.
 

cyclopath

Stirling Mortlock (74)
Staff member
You're going to get the usual suspects arguing about the unique beauty and technical skill required to effectively maul but the fact remains that if set up properly, there's essentially no way to defend it (without at least giving away a penalty) - going against rugby's ethos of 'the contest'.

I agree with tightening the 'use it or lose it' rule and they should also allow a player who has swum through the maul to tackle the ball-carrier,
I'd be happy if they at least policed it properly and consistently. One maul last night stopped 3 times - how many goes do you get? Another saw the ball carrier go to knees then get up again - should have been maul over right there. And the usual rash of players joining and swimming up in from of the ball carrier (not legal). If they take out all that crap, then it is a step in the right direction.
 

PhilClinton

Peter Fenwicke (45)
I like it as part of the game as adds to the strategy side of the game

I feel like removing mauls would create more contests in critical areas of play.

For example currently barely anyone contests a lineout 5m from their line, they all prepare for maul defence. If you remove mauls, suddenly the attacking lineouts become more of a risk, teams more likely to try and steal the ball, which I like. The strategy becomes when to risk going for a lineout close to the line, when to have a scrum instead or just a quick tap. Opens up lots of options.
 

Rob42

Nev Cottrell (35)
I'd be happy if they at least policed it properly and consistently. One maul last night stopped 3 times - how many goes do you get? Another saw the ball carrier go to knees then get up again - should have been maul over right there. And the usual rash of players joining and swimming up in from of the ball carrier (not legal). If they take out all that crap, then it is a step in the right direction.
Yes - especially that sliding up in front of the ball-carrier.

How far from the line of the line-out does the ball need to move before the line-out ends?
 

Dctarget

Simon Poidevin (60)
Also as Hooper pointed out before their final try the ball carrier dropped the ball and re-gathered in the maul.
 

Dctarget

Simon Poidevin (60)
Does that automatically make Swinton first-choice blindside? Maybe not, but then you'll need to find someone better. Wilson might add that string to his bow to ensure his longevity at this level, but probably not next week - let him have a crack against Argentina.
Leota?? Not good enough in the rucks? Better runner & link player than Swinton, good in the lineouts. Not (as) abrasive in defence.
 

Blue

Andrew Slack (58)
Which was the second try botched? There was the one where McDermott got underneath Am. I think it's harsh to say Am botched that, he did well to get to it and McDermott did very well with desperate scramble defence.

Are you talking about the one in the corner where it was out about five times before it got grounded?
Am ran a great line on the 22 and dropped the ball. he had two runners on hos outside coming at pace. It looked like a draw and pass to me.

I think he could have done better in the grounding when Tate got under him.
 

Blue

Andrew Slack (58)
I thought the Boks go away with murder at the breakdown in the last quarter of the game. Not releasing, creeping up around the fringes and generally diving/flopping. There could have been five penalties in the last 10 minutes alone.
You test the ref. Then you do what he allows. nothing new.

I thought this ref was excellent. Consistent. Great communicator.
 

Blue

Andrew Slack (58)
The Bok scrum has been immense since the World Cup, regardless of the personnel. They were lazy in the last scrum. How ironic then that they should lose a tight game off a scrum, with such depth at prop. Just shows it's an eight-man effort, and you have to be 100% switched on. They had two opensides packing down and two very tired locks. I think they will reconsider the replacements. Need one big bopper on the bench.
 

Pfitzy

Jason Little (69)
The Bok scrum has been immense since the World Cup, regardless of the personnel.
Both your THPs overextend post-hit and don't chase their feet. The moment an opposing captain clues the ref into that, they'll need to adjust and take out the penalty as an option. Koch practically dived into one scrum with his knees almost locked out.

You're right about replacement locks - losing De Jager late wasn't in the plan and the binding from Mostert and Etzebeth was pants in that last scrum.
 

Rugbynutter39

Michael Lynagh (62)
I feel like removing mauls would create more contests in critical areas of play.

For example currently barely anyone contests a lineout 5m from their line, they all prepare for maul defence. If you remove mauls, suddenly the attacking lineouts become more of a risk, teams more likely to try and steal the ball, which I like. The strategy becomes when to risk going for a lineout close to the line, when to have a scrum instead or just a quick tap. Opens up lots of options.
Yeh I can see pro's and con's of removing mauls....first step would be to do trial of new laws outlawing mauls to see what (negative and positive) impact has on the game. I don't mind the rolling maul personally...but can appreciate others not so much fans of it....
 

Rugbynutter39

Michael Lynagh (62)
With the trend towards more leniency bring given to overseas players (which is largely the inevitable result of economic forces and the games growth overseas), I'd be very surprised if many of these blokes came back.

But Cooper values connection to his family in Aus very closely, so there might be non-monetaty factors pulling him back.
Yeh hence we have seen the benefits of allowing some latitude but we definitely don't want to go down more open slather of SA. As others pointed out given Japan off seasons fits with Bledisloe and RC more likely to see players brought back from Japan then Europe.
 

PhilClinton

Peter Fenwicke (45)
Yeh hence we have seen the benefits of allowing some latitude but we definitely don't want to go down more open slather of SA. As others pointed out given Japan off seasons fits with Bledisloe and RC more likely to see players brought back from Japan then Europe.

Folau solves the fullback problem. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since his divorce with Rugby Australia. Any chance he plays again now that he's back playing rugby.
 

Tex

John Thornett (49)
I think it is more than Quade has just gotten older and more experienced in life. His post-match interview on Stan was a very good indication of where his head's at.
Yes, totally agree. I feel the commentators missed an opportunity to dig into his mindset changes instead of focusing on the game so much. He's clearly gone and turned himself inside out and addressed the ego. He was so zen, even at the start when practicing goal kicking.

I wouldn't have thought Quade Cooper would end up potentially being role model material, but I tend to know shit about squat.

Wonderful to see him in this space.
 

Peter Toohey

Jim Clark (26)
Alrighty then, I'll try to be brief. I'll even use pararaphs.

With a forward pack in general, you need to look at what you've got available and how it is going to play to your strengths across the field.

Tight five: win set piece first and foremost, contribute in the tight-loose.
A lot of teams have leaned toward a big bopper TH lock to stabilise the scrum, and a skinnier aerial target on the left side e.g. the Boks with Botha and Matfield. If you can get two big units who are also good in the air, even better. Similarly in your front row you want to know their scrum work is up to scratch but then look at what they bring around the park - are you just looking at each prop to get to every second ruck? Is the hooker going to be a link man or a fourth backrower style? There are several questions alone in the tight five, but if you're not winning your first-phase ball, your back row balance can quickly become irrelevant.

Back row: set defensive tone, own the ball, provide link to the backs
Back row needs to take any extras from the tight five into its mix, but should also look to offer something to the set piece. Additionally, your back row need to operate in a complementary fashion with each other. In the old days you could have two fast flankers to hassle the opposition at ruck time because the lineout was a bunfight anyway, and a big unit at 8 who was your primary ball carrier and link man.

These days it is a little different, but the starting point is that they all must be in the top few defenders in your team. Typically your back row now is still a big ball runner at 8, with a lineout target blindside and someone good on the deck at openside. If they bring more than that, great!

This conversation goes to Hooper; he's the captain, he's going to be first picked, and he's rarely going to be on the sideline for the 80 minutes. So let's accept that he brings us ruck work (both sides), speed on attack, and link play. He's not a crashball guy tho he's got the balance to shrug tacklers, but won't run flat out at a brick wall. So that largely fits the bill for 7. He's not as good over the ruck as someone like Pocock, but then Pocock wasn't ever a great ball runner.

From here, you can pick your 6 first or your 8 first, but you've got to be able to fill the gap with whoever comes second.

Let's start with 8, and consider Naisarani, Valetini, and Wilson.

The first 2 are similar - big units, crashball at and over the Ad-line. Can be a lineout target but really you want to put in a 5-man and have them as a running target out in midfield. While they can contribute at ruck time, on offense you want them running at the opposition with ball in hand, because that's their job.
Wilson can run the hard lines but his strength for me is more the linking role with good hand- and foot-speed through the line. Good lineout target as well, as he's a bit more agile, and IMHO edges Isi and Rob at ruck time as he's got more fitness and speed. For me, he's that link role that Kieran Read did so well with McCaw and Kaino at 7 and 6. You lose a bit in hard running, but gain in speed and hands.

So what gaps does the blindside need to fill in both these cases?

Regardless, we need a genuine third lineout target. Ideally someone the height and frame of Fardy, who can operate at the front as the safety ball or the trick play at 6-8.

If your 7 is going to hunt the ball and your 8 is going to crash it up, then the blindside also needs to get in and do the dirty work with the tight five at times, as Hooper can't get to every ruck. Additionally they need the pace and tackle accuracy to protect the blindside off the scrum. Some days that blindside will be notable for his involvements, but some days you might not hear his name at all, and only see some good stats after the fact.

Onto specifics: if you pick Valetini and Naisarani you're picking two very similar players. They're both big ball runners. They're both capable lineout targets, tho again you'd want them out in midfield for the crash. For me they occupy too much of the same space, and as a pair they don't complement a back row with Hooper at 7.

Valetini plays 6 at the Brumbies, but he's playing more of a crashball 8 role there, when Samu and Brown are his partners. Balance.

Naisarani was playing more of a pure 8 role at the Rebels with openside of Hardwick and a blindside like Kemeny. Balance.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, if you pick Isi or Rob at 8 - and either is very capable - then you can't have the other at 6.

Does that automatically make Swinton first-choice blindside? Maybe not, but then you'll need to find someone better. Wilson might add that string to his bow to ensure his longevity at this level, but probably not next week - let him have a crack against Argentina.
I agree with most of what you said however, I don't see how you apt explanation of the balancing required in the tight 5 or backups at all explains why picking Rob and isi together would require rebalancing of the rest of the pack since the only thing swinton has over either of them is "mongrel". Swinton is a similar kind of player to both of them already, just less effective at running, more likely to get penalised or carded, and arguably a better lineout option (haven't got to see isi anywhere near as much so it's hard to properly judge). I also included Wilson as an 8 option simply because when on form he offers exactly what you say, which is the Kieran read style linking 8, which helps for balance.

There's no reason both Valentini and Isi would both be required in the line instead of as a line out option, just because they are both strong runners. As you say it's about balance, and we aren't losing any balance unless we decide to force isi and Val to do the same things at the same time. Isi and Wilson are the exact same height as swinton, with Val slightly shorter, so if we already have the same amount of powerful carrying forwards in the back line, we don't require isi or Wilson to be there just because they are good at it. Therefore in my humble opinion, it doesn't effect balance much at all as long as one of them is still jumping, and they offer better discipline, and stronger carries.

I also don't see any explanation on how picking those two makes Hooper have to do twice as much ruck work. All the same, I don't mind if Swinton gets picked again next week because the team as a whole deserve to back it up, but we have other options who might offer more, and I want to see them at some point given the same extended run as Swinton has.
 

upthereds#!

Peter Fenwicke (45)
I don't see Swain forcing his way into the team over Rodda. It was his 2nd test back and he looks to be returning to his previous form. I'd like to see LSL (Lukhan Salakaia-Loto) injected onto the bench when he's available for selection, would be good to see his energy/ physicality vs tired bodies.
LSL (Lukhan Salakaia-Loto) won't be back for the RC.
 
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